Sept. 22, 2005
This fall is the Bulldogs' sixth season under the command of Dan Ireland and should see the return of the Yale harriers to among the top three teams in the Ivy League. The 2004 season was a disappointing year for the team as a whole but a tremendous season for the top individual harriers. The season saw seniors Lucas Meyer and Casey Moriarty finish 2nd and 4th in the Ivy League Cross Country Championships. In addition, Meyer went on to finish 3rd in the NCAA Regionals and 18th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Meyer's top-twenty finish was the highest finish by an Eli in 15 years and garnered All-American status for him as well. Last season also witnessed the Bulldogs' first-ever national ranking in cross country.
When coach Ireland arrived at Yale he established goals of taking the Bulldogs to the top of the Ivy League and solidifying them as a perennial cross country favorite and potential NCAA qualifier year in and year out. This season should continue to show that the Bulldog program has reached that level. The 2005 squad will have a mix of both veteran harriers and talented youth that possess the drive and dedication to success to compete with not only the best in the Ivy League but in the Northeast as well.
The 2005 squad is captained by senior Patrick Dantzer, who should compete for a top seven finish at the Heptagonal Championships. Dantzer was a scorer at 5000m in the Ivy Outdoor Track Championships this past spring and is the Elis' top returning distance runner. His strong dedication and leadership in addition to his athletic success will be essential to the success of this year's team. The rest of the senior class will play an equally important role on this year's squad. Erik Brown, Wyatt Golding, and Andrew Johnson will add great depth and experience to the squad. Their contributions both on the course and off will play a huge role in the success of this year's team.
The junior class could have the largest impact on the success of the Bulldogs' season. David Napper is ready to return to the form that saw him garner second team All-Ivy honors with his 11th place finish as a freshman. After being the squad's fifth man for his first two seasons, Andrew Pitts looks to become one of the top runners on the team and in the Ivy League as well. Nathan Clute, Brian Gertzen and Brian Hanak will contribute tremendously to the team's depth and quality. Clute and Hanak were consistent top 7 runners last season and both have aspirations of breaking into the top 5. Gertzen had a great season on the track last spring and is looking for that success to carry over to the cross country course.
The sophomore class' contribution will be heavily relied on if the team is to attain its goals. Tadhg O'Callaghan comes off a freshman year which saw him struggle to make the adjustment to running collegiate cross country but saw him have great success on the track. O'Callaghan will be looked upon to be one the top performers on the squad and has the potential to be an All-Ivy performer. Joe Kingsbery, Connor Kilpatric and Eric Kercherger all have the necessary talent to make huge contributions. Kingsbery and Kilpatric are both looking to regain the form that placed them both among the top cross country runners in their home states, New Jersey and Washington, as high school seniors. All three will compete for a spot on the varsity squad and will add the determination and devotion that is necessary to make a championship team.
The freshman class is arguably the most talented ever to enter Yale and figures to have a necessary and immediate impact on the squad. Jake Gallagher (Nova Scotia, Canada) possesses the most cross country experience of the group. Gallagher was a member of the Canadian World Junior Cross Country team and finished 78th at the world championships this past March. In addition on the track he has PR's of 1:53, 3:55 (1500m), 8:30 (3000m) and 14:44 (5000m). He was also a 5th place finisher in the 5000m at this summer's Pan Am Games Championships. Jared Bell (Inglewood, CA) possesses untapped potential on the cross country course. With a break out senior year on the track in high school, he showed that he was one of the top prep milers in the nation with a fifth place finish at the California CIF State Championships. He has run 1:55, 4:10 (1600m), 9:19 (3200m) and 15:00 (5000m) on the track. Murat Kayali (LaJolla, CA) also had a huge senior year in both cross country and on the track. He was runner up at the Division 2 California state cross country championships and was a CIF state qualifier in the mile. Kayali has run 4:15 (1600m) and 9:27 (3200m). Brendan Chestnut (Spokane, WA), Kevin Collins (Allentown, PA), Jacob Bruene (Lansing, IL), and Andrew Samuel (Bloomingdale, NJ) are all cross country specialists and will be looked upon to provide the dedication and depth that is required to ensure that the success of Yale cross country continues for the next several years.
With the leadership and focus of the upperclassmen combined with the great talent of the younger harriers, the 2005 Yale Cross Country season has the potential to be one of the best in the history of the Bulldog program. There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the prospects for this upcoming season. With the continued dedication and commitment that has become synonymous with the Yale men's cross country team, this fall's lofty goals should be more than attainable.